Thinking about nudity? Head to the Upspace!
Nudity in the Upspace, a collection of nude performances and events in PW’s blackbox, has been in action all week, but the main attractions are scheduled for the extended weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday). This week of naked exploration, the brainchild (yes, that’s the best word to describe it) of Becca Wolinsky ’14 and Camila Pacheco-Fores ’14, is the first of its kind at Brown. Although it may seem like some high minded experiment in body image and nude theater, Camila insists that the only inspiration for the event came from her experiences in FemSex and curiosity about social taboos: “It’s mostly the idea of talking about and addressing things that people don’t ‘normally’ address and that can be stigmatized.”
Weeks of preparation got every participant comfortable in their birthday suits. The single space and multiple performances proved a bit of a challenge, “[It has] been INSANE trying to organize rehearsals for 3 pieces while events are going on and when there are people in multiple pieces. But it’s been great.” By the end, being naked was less of an obstacle or source of embarrassment for the performers. Pacheco-Fores explains, “It’s been incredible to learn that being naked is just fun! Penises, vaginas, boobs, butts—body parts that used to make me feel awkward and uncomfortable before now I just see as another part of another beautiful body.”
Ultimately, the producers hope that this will be a positive and educational experience for the audience. “I hope people will love it,” says Pacheco-Fores regarding potential reactions. “I hope that people will laugh when it’s funny and feel moved when that is appropriate. I hope that people will come out of the experience feeling empowered and feeling that bodies and people are beautiful whether naked or clothed.”
Brass Tacks: On Thursday, Nudity in Theater will offer performances of both a one act and selected scenes from Much Ado About Nothing (yes, imagine this with more T&A…and penis). Friday night’s A Devised Piece of Nudity, “the manifesto” of the week, will feature seven actors performing an original work. Then, Saturday promises a uniquely brown experience with a nude Cabaret/Open Mic with bowtied, naked hours d’oeuvres servers.
After attending a dress (dress?) rehearsal of Nudity in Theater (which will be performed tonight at 6 and 8 pm), I can say that after the first few minutes of nude shock, one mostly forgets the nudity and everything just feels like any dramatic performance. While the play itself might not be the most profound or sophisticated, its clear-as-day meta commentary on drama, entertainment, and escapism interacts well with the nudity on stage.
Finally, I’ll answer the one question that’s on everybody’s mind. Why does the nudity have to be in the upspace? The producers explained that Upspace has a lottery for performance space, while the downspace doesn’t. It was a practical decision, and as someone who experienced it firsthand, the intimacy of a black box adds to the performance.